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How to help a friend move on…

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  • #367621
    Michelle
    Participant

    I have a friend who was with an older man (about 20 years her senior) and they broke up in February 2020 after he cheated on her with a women of his age. She continues to dream of having him back in her life, although she will admit that it is not realistic and probably wouldn’t work. She continues to seek validation from this man, trying to keep him in her life with texts and phone calls. He barely sees her and does not have much interest in connecting with her. She is angry at the woman who he cheated with, as she pretended to be a friend, but she will not be angry with him. I told her that she needs to find validation within herself, and knock him down off of the pedestal he’s on, but that is easier said than done. What other wisdom could I offer her, to help her move on. She wonders why she is not angry at him, but I feel it’s because her power is still released to him. She wants him to give it back, needs him to do so.

    #367652
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    You shared that you have a friends who had a relationship with a man 20 years older than her. Given your age, from previous threads, I am guessing that she is in her 30s and he is in his 50s. He cheated on her with a woman his age, and your friend broke up with him. But she continues to contact him, while he “does not have much interest in connecting with her”. She is angry at the woman he cheated on her with, but she is not angry wit6h him.

    “She wonders why she is not angry at him, but I feel it’s because her power is still released to him. She wants him to give it back, needs him to do  so”– I don’t quite understand the part I italicized. Can you explain it to me/ elaborate on it?

    anita

    #367697
    Michelle
    Participant

    Sorry I meant, her power is still released to him and she wants to get it back, and feels that only he can give it back; therefore she can’t be angry with him because that threatens his ability to give her validation again. What do you think?

    #367700
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Michelle:

    I know the feeling of giving another person the power- it is a very frustrating experience, a humiliating experience.

    It makes me think of the power dynamic in dogs (and other animals). When a dog encounters a more powerful dog, the weaker one, believing he doesn’t have much of a chance to win a confrontation, feels no anger and  rolls over on his back.

    When a dog encounters a dog of  lesser power, believing he has a good chance to win a confrontation, he/she feels angry, then  growls and threatens aggression.

    Your friend, seeing that man as having the power to give her something she desperately need, is naturally not going to feel anger at him. On the other hand, she feels angry at the woman he cheated on her with because she doesn’t perceive that woman as powerful, as one capable of giving her what she needs, that validation that you mentioned.

    anita

     

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